Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions

  2. General information about Medifast

  3. Medifast Plan Options

  4. Getting Started

  5. Medical Supervision

  6. Ketosis

  7. Soy Protein

  8. Exercise

  9. Planning for Medifast supplies

  10. How to deal with weird symptoms

  11. The scale, Medifast and Weight Maintenance

1. General information about Medifast

What is Medifast?
Medifast is a meal replacement program that helps most people lose weight faster than traditional food-based diet plans. Medifast products come in individual packets that you mix with water to create a "shake" similar to an instant breakfast drink. Medifast is available in a wide variety of flavors as well as several alternate choices including protein bars, creamy soups, oatmeal, and hot cocoa.

How does Medifast work?
The Medifast plan uses the concept of a very low-calorie level along with a high proportion of protein. This combination allows your body to lose weight rapidly while protecting your muscle tissue.

What types of people is Medifast for?

  • Medifast has programs available for people no matter how much weight they need to lose.

  • People who have a lot of weight to lose, such as 100 pounds or more.

  • Individuals who are "stuck" or who can't seem to lose weight on other plans.

  • People who have medical conditions such as diabetes that make it difficult to lose weight.

How fast do you lose?
Women average 2 to 4 pounds a week, men slightly faster (up to five pounds a week or more)

Is it safe?
Medifast has been proven to be a very safe way for most people to lose weight. Medifast products are primarily made from soy, along with significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. By following specific protocols, you can safely use Medifast even if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, or adult-onset diabetes, including if you are insulin dependent.

Has the use of Medifast been researched?
Over the past 20 years, Medifast has been recommended by the over 15,000 physicians. Research studies at Johns Hopkins University Teaching Hospital as well as the National Institute for Health have shown the plan to be very effective as well as medically safe.

Does it contain harmful herbs or additives?
No. Medifast does NOT contain any added caffeine, stimulants, ephedra or other herbs that might be harmful to your body.

What is Super Citrimax?
Medifast Plus with Citrimax contains a natural appetite suppressant made from the vine of a South Asian fruit. Super Citrimax works without stimulating the central nervous system so does not cause problems with heart rate, blood pressure or other symptoms such as insomnia or nervousness.

Which products are lactose free?
The Medifast Protein bars, Ready-to Drink products, Take Shape Shakes and Fast Soups are all lactose free. Medifast 55 and Medifast 70 shakes are considered low-lactose products as each shake contains only one gram of lactose per serving.

The FDA allows the claim "lactose free" for any product that contains less than 0.5 grams of lactose per serving.

Are any Medifast products dairy free?
The Ready-to-Drink product is dairy-free.

Are there any Medifast products that don't contain soy?
The "original formula Take Shape and Peach Pro Tea products do not contain soy.

Which product should I use?
When choosing your Medifast products, consider your social needs and medical concerns as well as the amount of weight you want to lose. Here are general product recommendations.

Medifast 55
is recommended for females with 25 or more pounds to lose. May be used as complete meal replacement or modified plan that includes one meal a day.

Medifast 70
is recommended for males with 25 or more pounds to lose. May be used as complete meal replacement or modified plan that includes one meal a day.

Note: Females who are very physically active and people who struggle with lactose intolerance might benefit from using Medifast 70 instead of Medifast 55.

What is the difference between Medifast 55 and Medifast 70?
They are very similar except for the protein content. Medifast 55 has 11 grams of protein per serving while Medifast 70 has 14 grams per serving. The Medifast 70 also has about 10 more calories per packet.

Medifast Plus
can be used by either males or females with less than 25 pounds to lose. Note: Medifast Plus is also recommended for people under age 18 or over age 70 as well as for people with complicated medical issues. It may not be used as a complete meal replacement- the Medifast Plus program requires one meal a day.

Can I use Medifast Plus if I have more than 25 pounds to lose?
Absolutely. The important thing is to find the type of product or the combination of products that work best for you. If you have successfully used a Medifast program in the past, you may want to use a similar product line again.

Take Shape
Take Shape products are recommended for use as a maintenance product, but can also be used in a weight-loss program for people with less than 25 pounds to lose.

What is the difference between the shakes, alternate products and the bars?
Medifast shakes include all flavors of the Medifast 55, Medifast 70 and Medifast Plus. Shakes should be used for at least three of your supplements each day.

Alternate products are supplements that may be substituted in place of a shake once or twice a day. These include Medifast Supplement bars, Creamy soups, Oatmeal and Hot cocoa.

Why should I limit the Medifast bars to one per day?
Using more than one bar per day could affect your ketosis level and decrease the speed of weight loss. The manufacturing of a solid product requires a different processing method for binding the carbohydrates with proteins. This results in a slightly higher carbohydrate level than the powdered Medifast products.

Medifast protein bars were developed for variety in a complete meal replacement program. If you are on a complete meal replacement or modified plan, limit your consumption of bars to one per day. If you are using Medifast as on occasional diet product or for general good nutrition, you may increase this amount.

What is a Medifast snack?
The Medifast Fast Soups and Pro Tea are considered snacks. They provide the option of an extra treat, but they should not be used in place of a regular supplement such as the shakes. Fast Soups can be used once or twice a day, while Pro Tea should be limited to one serving per day.

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2. Medifast Plan Options

Complete Meal Replacement (Medifast 55 or 70)-Requires five Medifast supplements a day, no regular food. Recommended if you have a lot of weight to lose or you prefer to avoid all food choices.

Modified Meal Replacement Plan (Medifast 55, 70 or Plus) - Requires four Medifast supplements a day plus a daily meal consisting of a serving of lean meat and a green salad. The modified plan is recommended if you have medical or social needs that make it difficult to avoid all food. A modified plan is also preferred if you have less than 25 pounds to lose.

Can you alternate between the plans?
Yes. Both the complete meal replacement and the modified plans will maintain the protein balance of ketosis. With Medifast 55 and 70, you can start with a full fast, then switch to a modified plan or even go back and forth between the two options. For example, you might decide to do a full fast during the week, then switch to a modified plan on the weekend.

What can be in the modified plan meal?
Your daily meal should consist of two things: a serving of lean meat and either a green salad or a serving of low-starch vegetables. For the meat serving, females should have between 4 to 5 ounces, males should have 6 to 7 ounces.
Exception: If you are using the Medifast Plus "original formula," the meat serving should be a total of 8 ounces.

What can I put on the salad?
Your salad can include 1 to 2 cups of any kind of salad greens along with up to 1/4 cup total of any combination of raw vegetables such as peppers, onions, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms, radishes, alfalfa or bean sprouts, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, or cabbage.
You may use 1 to 2 tablespoons of low-fat or non-fat salad dressing.

Which vegetables can I eat if I don't want a salad?
You can have between 1 to 1 1/2 cups of any low-starch vegetables including asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, snow peas, spinach, zucchini, or tomatoes.

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3. Getting Started

How do I get started on Medifast?
Decide whether you want to do the complete meal replacement program (no food) or a plan with a meal once a day. That helps you determine how much product you will need.  Call 969-4473 to set up a consultation and get started on your weight loss program.  Everything you need for successful weight loss can be obtained at Medslim-Tampa

Should I wait until the weekend or start during the week?
You can do either one, depending on what fits best for you. The first three days on Medifast are critical to your success, so plan your start-up carefully. You might look for a time when you don't anticipate any big events that involve food.

How do I mix the packets?
To mix the cold shakes, put 8 to 10 oz. of water in shaker jar or blender. Add contents of Medifast packet and ice, if desired, then mix or blend until smooth. Medifast Creamy Soups and Hot Cocoa should be mixed with hot water. Don't use boiling water as it cooks the protein too quickly and makes the product lumpy. Let mixture stand one minute to absorb liquid and improve flavor.

Can I mix them with milk or fruit juice?
No, these will add extra calories and change the total program balance. Also, fruit juices contain added carbohydrates so they will alter the critical protein ratio of the Medifast plan.

Can I add flavorings to the supplements?
For variety, you may add a few drops of flavoring extract, such as vanilla or mint or stir a packet into a cup of coffee. With the hot supplements, you may add salt, pepper, herbs and spices (garlic, onion, basil, cinnamon, etc.) to the hot supplements as desired.

Can I mix the packets ahead?
You might also consider using the Medifast Ready-to-Drink boxes offer a convenient way to take your supplements with you. These pre-mixed packets are shelf stable and can be stored easily. (Available only in Medifast 55)

How should I space the packets?
Plan to take your supplements about 3 to 4 hours apart. Space the packets throughout the day rather than saving them up for evening. Generally plan to have at least three of your packets by 2:00pm each day.

Can I mix two packets together?
Yes, if necessary, you can mix two packets together, adding extra water to achieve the right consistency. Avoid doing this routinely and instead, keep your packets spaced a few hours apart.

What happens if I miss a packet?
If you miss a supplement, take the rest of the your packets closer together to make sure you get all the required supplements in before the end of the day. Because of the low calorie level of Medifast, skipping packets will put you below the optimal nutrient level your body needs to function. This decrease in your nutrient balance will make your body conserve energy and cause you to lose weight slower, not faster!

Do I need to drink a lot of fluids?
Drinking fluids helps your body be more efficient at eliminating the by-products of fat metabolism, keeping you showing consistent weight loss on the scale.

What kind of fluids are OK?
You may drink any liquids that are considered non-caloric. This includes hot or iced tea, coffee or decaf, diet sodas, Crystal Light, Diet Kool-Aid and instant broth or bouillon.

Should I worry about salt in bouillon?
No, it's fine to have extra salt. In fact, it might even make you feel better if you are somewhat tired or are feeling light-headed or dizzy. When you are on Medifast, your body loses water quickly, along with some of your electrolytes such as sodium. Your body will eventually get back in balance, but having extra salt, such as in bouillon, will help it do this more quickly.

Can I drink alcohol?
No, you should avoid all alcoholic beverages while you are on Medifast. Because alcohol is metabolized similar to a carbohydrate, it will decrease ketosis and slow your weight loss.

Can I have coffee or caffeinated sodas?
Yes, but limit coffee and caffeinated drinks to three per day. The low-calorie level of Medifast may increase your sensitivity to caffeine, causing anxiety, shakiness or other symptoms.

What can I put in my coffee?
If you wish, you may use low-fat or skim milk or small amounts of half and half in your coffee or tea. You may also use artificial sweeteners such as Equal if desired.

What can I do about wanting to chew?
You can munch on celery-up to three stalks per day is acceptable. Celery is a high-water vegetable with minimal carbohydrates.

Can I eat fruit?
No, fruits contain high levels of carbohydrates which affect your ketosis level and slow your weight loss.

Can I chew gum?
You may use sugar-free gum or mints but limit these to five per day. These products contain sorbitol which can cause gastric distress as well as stimulate appetite.

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4. Medical Supervision

Do I need to see a doctor?
MedSlim-Tampa strongly recommends that you see your doctor for a general exam and blood test panel before you begin the program.   If desired the MedSlim-Tampa physician can also provide that service.

What lab tests should I have done?
Lab tests should include a CBC, chemistry panel, lipid profile, thyroid panel, and urinalysis. If you are over age 40 or have a history of heart disease, you should have an EKG done as well.

What is the doctor looking for with the lab tests and EKG?
The tests are designed to verify that you don't have any unknown illnesses or medical conditions that could put you at risk for coping with the Medifast plan. The reason for the EKG is to make sure you don't have any previously diagnosed heart problems or heart disease that would be a problem if you do the Medifast plan.

How often should I see my doctor?
Follow-up visits with your physician should be done from once a month to once every three months. At each visit, you should have a CBC and a chemistry profile that tests electrolytes, blood sugar, etc. Monthly visits are recommended if you have diabetes, heart disease or other significant history.

Can I use Medifast if I'm on prescription medications?
Yes, most medications for chronic conditions such as depression, thyroid or hormone deficiency, etc. may be continued while you are on Medifast. Check with your doctor regarding dosage adjustments.

What about blood pressure medications?
If you are taking blood-pressure medication, you may be able to decrease your dose or eliminate taking it, at least during the time you are on Medifast. Watch for any of these symptoms that can indicate your medication dose needs to be lowered or discontinued: feeling tired, weak or "washed out," legs feeling rubbery or weak, headaches, feeling dizzy or light-headed, or becoming more fatigued after several weeks of feeling great.

Can I do Medifast if I'm diabetic?
If you are a Type II diabetic (adult onset) you should be able to do Medifast just fine. We suggest you monitor your blood sugar readings once or twice a day as well as stay in close contact with your physician for instructions on making changes in your medications.

Should I continue my oral diabetes medication?
Oral agents for diabetes should generally be discontinued at the time you begin the fasting program. Otherwise within just a few days after starting the program, your blood sugar may become too low.

What if I'm on insulin?
If your insulin dose is less than 30 units a day, Medifast recommends you discontinue it entirely when you begin the plan. Monitor blood sugar readings twice a day during the early weeks, then decrease monitoring to two to three times a week. If you are on more than 30 units a day, you can usually decrease your dose by half, then reduce it further as your blood-sugar level drops. Monitor blood sugars as above.

Can I take diuretics while I'm on Medifast?
Unless absolutely necessary, avoid taking diuretics while you are on Medifast. If you are currently taking a diuretic, check with your doctor before making changes. You may need wean off the medication slowly rather than stopping it abruptly.

What if I get sick?
If you become ill such as getting a cold or the flu, you can stay on Medifast provided your symptoms aren't too severe. Taking antibiotics (if necessary) won't harm your Medifast plan but may temporarily slow your weight loss.

What can I take for a headache?
Aspirin, Tylenol and pain medications such as Ibuprofen may be used as necessary. Avoid long-term use as these may cause stomach distress when you are on Medifast.

What if I get heartburn?
Antacids such as Maalox, Rolaids, etc. are acceptable. You may also use acid-blockers such as Zantac, Tagamet, Prilosec and related medications.

Will my seasonal allergy or asthma medications be a problem?
You can continue most allergy and asthma medications including inhalers, etc. while you are on Medifast.

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5. Ketosis

What is ketosis?
The nutrient balance of Medifast combined with the low-calorie level causes the fat stores to release free fatty acids which are converted by the liver into an energy source called ketones. This mild state of "ketosis" helps the body achieve rapid weight loss while preserving muscle tissue. Ketosis also helps eliminate physical hunger while providing good levels of energy.

Is ketosis harmful?
No, the level of ketosis achieved is very mild-just strong enough to protect you from losing muscle tissue. This mild level of ketosis has not been shown to cause harm to the body.

How long does it take to get ketosis built?
Plan for about three days of being on Medifast for building the ketosis level. If you fall off the plan, it will generally take two to three days to rebuild the level again to the point where you no longer feel hunger or fatigue.

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6. Soy Protein

What type of soy is in Medifast?
Medifast uses Supro® brand soy protein, a high-quality complete protein derived from soybeans. This product is produced by DuPont's Protein Technologies, a company that has been conducting research on the benefits of soy protein for over 30 years.

What are the benefits of soy?
In addition to the general health benefits of a quality protein source, soy has been shown to be preventive against cardiovascular disease. The FDA has stated that "combined with a diet low in saturated fat, an intake of 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Does soy lower cholesterol levels?
Some studies have shown that soy protein enhances bile acid secretion, which lowers blood cholesterol levels. Ongoing research in the area may eventually bring stronger conclusions.

Is soy good for osteoporosis?
Naturally occurring isoflavones (such as those in the Supro® brand soy protein) have been shown to increase the mineral content and mineral density of bones. Soy protein may also protect against the risk of fractures and osteoporosis because it promotes an optimal calcium balance.

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7. What about exercise?

Can I exercise when I'm on Medifast?
Yes you can, but we suggest limiting the amount of exercise, especially in the beginning.

It takes three to four weeks for the body to adapt to the Medifast plan and using the fat stores for energy. During this time, too much exercise can cause dehydration as well as decrease your weight loss and harm your muscle tissue.

What type of exercise and how much is considered OK?
If you haven't been exercising at all, wait three to four weeks until you have adapted to the Medifast program. Then start your exercise plan very slowly. Begin with gentle walking, 10 to 20 minutes per day, then gradually increase the amount. If you have been exercising prior to starting Medifast, cut your current plan by half during the first three weeks, then gradually build it back up.

What is the maximum amount of exercise I can do?
While you are on Medifast, limit intense exercise such as running, biking or swimming to a total of 45 minutes a day. Over exercising will actually slow your weight-loss progress.

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8. Planning for Medifast supplies

How much Medifast do I need?
If you are doing a complete meal replacement, you will need five supplements a day or 35 packets per week.(5 boxes)
If you are using a modified plan that includes a daily meal, you will need four supplements a day or 28 packets per week.(4 boxes)

How may packets are in a box of Medifast?
Medifast 55- 7 packets/box
Medifast 70- 7 packets/box
Medifast Plus- 7 packets/box
For alternate products such as cream soups, oatmeal, bars, etc. check the website or call customer serviced for product information.

What if I run out of packets?
As an emergency substitute for a packet, you can drink an 8 ounce glass of skim or low-fat milk for each supplement you will miss. Don't do this for more than one day.

If you will be away from your Medifast supplies for longer than one day, focus on eating meals that are high-protein, low carbohydrates until you can return to your program.

Can I mix different brands of VLCD products?
We recommend that you stay with only one brand of products such as Medifast. Each product line is developed to maximize the nutrient levels your body requires. Mixing different product brands may cause you to be deficient in some nutrient.

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9. How to deal with weird symptoms

During the first week or so on the program, some people experience diarrhea from the body's adjustment to the concentration of nutrients in the supplements. This will usually subside after a few days. Using too much sugar-free gum or mints can also cause diarrhea.

Gurgling stomach, cramps?
If you experience gurgling stomach, abdominal cramping, bloating or diarrhea, you may have lactose intolerance or a shortage of the enzyme that breaks down milk products. Try Lactaid pills, a non-prescription enzyme that helps your body digest milk components. Take 1 to 3 regular strength pills with each supplement to control the symptoms. You may be able to stop taking the pills after 2-3 weeks. (Lactaid is available at grocery stores or pharmacies.)

You will probably have bowel movements less frequently than normal because of the decreased food intake. If you have hard stools or feel constipated, try the following solutions. Drink more fluids, increase exercise. Take a sugar-free fiber supplement such as Metamucil. We recommend Orange-flavored, smooth textured Metamucil. Take 1-2 tsp. dissolved in water once a day. You may use stool softener pills or laxatives if necessary.

Feeling cold?
The low calorie level of Medifast causes your body to decrease its metabolism which can make you feel cold more easily. Try drinking hot liquids or taking warm baths. Be prepared for this by keeping a sweater handy.

Bad breath?
As your body metabolizes fat stores, the ketone by-products can cause a slight breath odor. You can also experience a dry mouth as a result of being slightly dehydrated from being on Medifast. To remedy both of these symptoms, drink a lot of water and other fluids, use breath sprays or products such as Breath Asure, and brush your teeth, including your tongue, several times a day. You can also use sugar-free gum or mints, but limit these to five a day.

Skin rashes?
Some people develop a mild skin rash on their chest, neck or face during the early weeks on Medifast. Most skin rashes seem to be related to the high-protein balance of the program, and they disappear within a week or two. If a rash itches or feels uncomfortable, ask your doctor about taking an antihistamine such as Benadryl to control the symptoms. You can also apply a cortisone cream to the rash to speed healing.

Hunger that doesn't go away?
If you continue to struggle with hunger beyond the first week or two, your stomach may be excreting more acid than needed for the small volume of food intake. This can create a "gnawing" sensation in your stomach that feels exactly like hunger. If you have a history of having an ulcer or gastritis, you can be particularly prone to this type of hunger problem.

To manage hunger that won't go away, consider taking an acid-blocker medication such as Zantac, Tagamet or Pepcid AC. You will find these in drug stores or grocery stores, usually in the same location as antacids.

Use antacids such as Maalox as desired. You might also take an acid-blocker medication such as Zantac or Tagament for a couple of weeks until you no longer experience the symptoms.

What can I do about hair loss?
A small percent of the people who do Medifast will struggle with hair loss, especially ones who are on the program for three months or longer. To minimize this problem, Taking supplements that contain extra B vitamins, extra zinc and the nutrient Biotin are all helpful for decreasing the problem. Hair loss is not permanent and regrowth typically occurs within a couple months of going off Medifast.

How long can I stay on the Medifast plan?
As long as you are doing well and making progress, you should be able to stay on Medifast for as long as it takes to reach your desired goal weight. Some programs recommend taking a break from a complete plan after 16 weeks; however, research has not shown this to be necessary. To lose a lot of weight, such as more than 100 pounds, you may need to be on the program for a long time.

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10. The Scale, Medifast and Weight Maintenance

Why did the scale go up?
The amount of weight you lose will fluctuate from week to week. Often the scale will be affected by things that cause you to retain fluids, such as PMS, not drinking enough water, illness, stress, too much exercise and even temperature extremes. Don't panic if the scale doesn't move for several days or even goes up. If you stay solid on your program, the scale will eventually show results.

What can I do about a plateau?
Plateaus usually occur after weight changes of at least 40 to 50 pounds. At this point, your body seems to take stock, and for a brief period, attempts to hold on to the fat stores. It's as though your body reshuffles its weight status while assessing whether it's safe to continue losing. Once it feels settled, your system will kick back in and allow your weight to drop again. If you experience a weight-loss plateau, look for other indications of progress such as wearing a smaller size of clothing.

How do I go off the program?
When you are ready to stop Medifast, plan to do a gradual transition off the program rather than suddenly jumping back on food. During the transition period, your goal will be to gradually ease back into eating regular food at the same time you slowly wean off the Medifast packets. Doing a careful transition protects you from experiencing a "rebound" weight gain from suddenly increasing your calorie intake. It also gives your digestive system a chance to adapt to handling regular food again. If you have the option, stretch your transition over a period of three to six weeks so your body can gradually adapt to the changes. Keep in mind that meal replacement is a philosophy that can be incorporated into your life for good. We recommend using Medifast Take Shape once or twice per day for weight maintenance.

Will I gain all the weight back?

You will also maintain your success by making long-term changes in your lifestyle such as healthy eating and consistent exercise. You may also need to work on how you cope with life so that you don't reach for food when you are experiencing stress, depression or other emotional needs.

Can I go back on the program if I gain back some weight?

Absolutely. If you gain back more than 5 to 10 pounds, we recommend that you immediately return to the program for a brief period. This will help your body adjust to staying at a lower weight and prevent you from regaining what you worked to hard to lose.

Can I use Medifast products as part of a food plan?

Yes, you can. In fact, many people will use one or two Medifast supplements a day as part of their maintenance plan. This provides structure while allowing flexibility in your meal plan. Medifast suggests using the Take Shape product for weight maintenance.

The Medifast Take Shape products are higher in calories and provide everything your body needs to maintain your weight and keep it off for life. Incorporating this product into your diet once or twice a day will keep you disciplined. You may also use a Medifast packet as a protein source in your meal, adding other foods such as fruits, vegetables or a salad to maintain a healthy nutritional balance.

“With the permission of Medifast, Inc. Copyright 2003."

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